There's a Silver Lining to Zika at the Olympics

It's weeding out the athletes who have no business being at the Games: David Kahn
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2016 11:49 AM CDT
There's a Silver Lining to Zika at the Olympics
Rio's Olympic Park is seen on July 4.   (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Top athletes including Rory McIlroy have pulled out of the Rio Olympics over Zika concerns. Good riddance, argues David Kahn. "Golfers, along with stars from other already enriched sports, have no place in the Olympics," he writes at Bloomberg. Golfers and tennis players, who compete in international tournaments on an almost weekly basis, don't make the Olympics a priority like they do the Masters or Wimbledon, Kahn says. Had the Zika virus infected Augusta, Ga., in April, he notes, McIlroy surely would have taken to the green. But athletes in track and field, swimming, or gymnastics "would not miss a Summer Games for any reason other than injury," Kahn writes. "They plan their entire lives in four-year increments."

The silver lining is that these dedicated athletes might now be rewarded, Kahn says. "The Olympics have swelled in size, adding additional costs for the host cities in everything from the size of athlete villages to new stadiums to additional security," he writes. "The Zika pullouts serve as an advisory for the International Olympic Committee to begin eliminating sports and slimming down, making the Summer Games more economically sensible and manageable." If Olympic basketball is on the chopping block along with golf and tennis, you won't find Kahn crying. "If the stakes are not sufficiently high for a sport's best athletes to compete in the Olympics, the IOC should extinguish that sport's artificial flame." Click for his full column. (More Zika virus stories.)

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